A busy vet practice in Northwich has retained its title as the best in Cheshire thanks to its loyal customers.
Hartford Veterinary Hospital, which has stood on Chester Road for almost 50 years, are county champs again in the nationwide Vet Help Direct Awards based on the online reviews of its clients.
The practice, which operates 24/7 and has more than 80 staff is part of the Willows Vet Group and is a hub for advanced operations and specialist treatment for its 23 practices across Cheshire, Staffordshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
They often have more than 20 hospitalised patients and deal with many more at appointments that run from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.
They treat all domestic pets and small animals, according to practice manager Clare Sutton who has been at the hospital for 28 years after starting as a student veterinary nurse.
She said: “It’s fantastic to win the award again, especially when it’s decided by the reviews of our customers.
“We’re really proud of the team here led by our clinical director Louise Parker., Everyone worked so hard during the pandemic and it was not always easy, especially for owners who had to wait outside while their pets were treated indoors.
“It’s a very busy practice and we provide a very full service, including more complex surgical procedures for the network of Willows practices and many patient transfers and a lot of intensive care nursing. We have a CT scanner on site and a visiting MRI scanner.
“We mainly treat dogs and cats and small animals but they can also include some wild animals who are brought to us, including hedgehogs and even badgers, which we transfer to a local wildlife hospital.”
One of those satisfied customers is Sue Packenham, from Hartford, who has been bringing her dogs to the practice for 17 years, including her current pair of Boxers, Louie, 11, and Paloma, four.
The dogs stay fit keeping up with Sue and her husband on their activity-packed trips to Snowdonia and she said: “The dogs love coming here. If I’m taking them on a walk past the surgery they’re pulling to come in.
“All the staff are here because they love animals and they know that when someone loses a pet it can be really difficult but they’re wonderful, they even send a card with a paw print.
“They always show real compassion and empathy and they’re always very honest with you. It might not always be what you want to hear but it’s always in the best interest of the animal.
“It’s a hard and challenging job. Ultimately people have a pet for a reason and they become part of the family and the staff at Willows recognise that – they’ve been like gold dust to me.”